Body transformation pictures are an objective measure of progress. Not only that, but such photos also help motivate your clients. They can see the difference since their last photo and are determined to look even better for the next.
So, how do you take before and after photos of your clients in the gym?
First, lighting is everything. You should also use a plain background and have a high-quality camera to give justice to the features of your clients’ bodies as well.
Let’s get into it.
Good Before and After Photos Are All About Lighting
Lighting is a dealbreaker in any type of photography. This is true whether you’re photographing trees, mountains, cakes, buildings, or people. A good light source is the most necessary part of this entire process.
You don’t want the place to become too dark, as it’ll cast harsh shadows over your client’s body. This may look good if you’ve had some practice and are going for a stylized look, but before and after photos are usually a precise and repeatable affair. Now, on the other hand, there shouldn’t be too much light because it can make your clients look overexposed in the photos.
The following are some tips on how you can set up good lighting whenever you’re going to take before and after photos:
It’s vital to mimic the position of natural sunlight, so it won’t distort the natural features of your client. This is simple – the sun always shines down, not up. Place the light at a high angle to recreate a sunshine effect. That is how we are used to seeing people – lit from the top.
You can have your client stand under a spotlight or an overhead light if you have one in your gym. This will help them showcase their gains better because it’ll give off a subtle shadow that’ll highlight their muscles.
If you have a space with a lot of windows that has a great amount of sunlight, you may not even need an extra light source. But if you want to be able to take photos on a cloudy day or at night and have them look similar to each other, it’s good to have a stable a light source.
Even if the room has the best lighting, the photos might look subpar if you don’t adjust your camera settings. If you are using a professional camera, like a DSLR, you should alter its ISO.
ISO is your camera’s sensitivity to light—the higher it is, the brighter your picture will become. As such, you should know how to find the perfect balance of light exposure by either increasing or reducing it.
If you’re using your phone, it usually doesn’t let you change the ISO setting. Instead, it adjusts on its own. You may be able to adjust the brightness by tapping on your subject and dragging the scroll wheel. This step might differ for your phone because every operating system has its own method.
As mentioned earlier, overexposure will result in the loss of details of your subject. You wouldn’t be able to distinguish your client’s progress if you’re always flooding everything with light.
Furthermore, it’s better to underexpose your photo than to overexpose it because it’s much easier to finetune. You can’t bring back the highlights when they are washed out by the light.
Equipment Needed for Before and After Photos
An amazing before and after photo wouldn’t be possible without the help of other photography equipment.
Remember that you don’t have to have all of the gear we’ll mention to capture stunning pictures. They’ll only help enhance the quality of the images.
A camera tripod stabilizes your camera. It’s the best tool for people with shaky hands, especially if you are using a DSLR to capture before and after photos. Utilizing a tripod helps with the following:
- Ensures that the images won’t turn out blurry
- Helps you easily adjust the camera level according to your client’s height
- Allows you to take both photos from the exact position (you may need to write down the height and position of the camera for each photo)
It is completely okay to use your phone for a camera, there are tripod mounts in the market that can fit any kind of phone.
Most professional photographers use an 85mm lens whenever they take portraits. The lens is versatile, meaning that you can take shots up close without distorting your client’s features. The goal would be to get realistic pictures that don’t require any editing.
In addition, the lens provides sharpness to capture every detail of your client’s body.
3. Light Reflectors
If you prefer to take pictures in natural light, you need to use a light reflector. Photographers often use this equipment to soften harsh shadows whenever they capture portraits.
The purpose of a reflector is to use the reflective surface to cancel out the shadows on your client’s body.
Plus, you need to use a reflector if you’re taking photos in a window or under a spotlight. This way you can redirect and diffuse the light according to your liking.
You can invest in a light kit if you want good lighting. This is the most professional way and the way that I would recommend. Most of the time, a ring light will do. However, professionals prefer using softboxes because they soften your camera’s flash, creating a softer and more flattering look.
They are called softboxes because they give off soft light instead of hard light.
There are other softboxes that enable you to adjust the brightness and color temperature. With this feature, you’ll be able to develop the lighting that’ll best highlight your client’s progress.
Moreover, this is a fantastic tool for those who only use their phones to take before and after photos. Since you can’t change most phone’s ISO and aperture settings, which are essential to get the correct exposure, softboxes will help you get natural-looking light.
If you don’t have a plain wall in your gym, you should get a plain backdrop. Stick with neutral colors so the images won’t look busy. Plus, having too much clutter behind your client will make it harder for them to see their progress.
Furthermore, if there are lots of colors, there’s a probability that they’ll blend with your client’s clothing or skin. A plain backdrop separates them from the wall, making their body the image’s focal point.
Your clients will analyze these photos to a degree you can only imagine, so make it easy for them.
What Is and Isn’t Appropriate
When taking before and after photos of your clients in the gym, people sometimes get a bit funny. As such, you have to keep these points in mind to prevent from offending or making your clients uncomfortable during the process:
Not all people are comfortable wearing any outfit that’ll show their skin and bodies right away.
This fact rings especially true when taking photos of women. Some of them wouldn’t want to wear a full bikini, for example, particularly when the photographer is male.
So, you should let your clients choose what outfit they want to wear. Show them examples of before and after photos. Too many clothes and you won’t be able to see the difference.
I’m a male trainer and I’ve always let the woman decide and given an option to have a female trainer come and take the photo. Some take me up on the offer and others don’t care. They are paying you, let them decide.
In relation to their clothes they should wear what they wore during the first shoot.
You’re going to have a hard time determining how far they’ve come with their fitness journey if they’re wearing different clothes. Wearing the same outfit will highlight their progress. It’ll also give you a better judgment about the areas that need improvement.
Fun photo tip: Like in the photo above, if they have a pair of pants that they want to fit into, you can have them try them on before and after. This makes for great promotional photos for your gym (if the client agrees to let you use it for commercial purposes) and the client will end up sharing it with their friends because it shows how much they achieved.
Being professional with your clients will make them comfortable whenever you take before and after photos. Plus, knowing who your clients are at a personal level goes a long way. But since the “before” photos are often taken at the start of a program, you don’t usually know much about them.
Even if you’re close with a client you’re going to take a picture of, maintaining professionalism and keeping in good communication will ensure a lasting reputation within your workplace and with your customers.
Aside from unnecessary conversations, you should also prevent giving harsh comments about your clients’ progress while taking their before and after photos. Some might take it personally, so a single negative remark can make them unmotivated to continue their fitness journey.
People can be very touchy and reactive when it comes to their bodies, so always play it on the safe side.
People have different bodies, so they’ll have different rates of progress—others will take a while before seeing progress, while some will only take a few weeks. With that, you should always be a source of motivation.
Use of Before and After Photos of Your Clients
You can use your clients’ before and after photos as promotional materials or as a motivator for others. Just ensure that they give you consent and permission for their photos to be used for such purposes. Some may object to having their photos plastered on various social networking sites, while some thrive off the attention.
You can create a document stating that your gym will use your clients’ before and after pictures for promotional purposes on your website and possibly social networking sites or flyers. Additionally, it should have an option wherein they can allow you to use their images, but their heads are either blurred out or cropped off.
Work out your own system and make sure that it makes sense.
With that said, the following are some uses of before and after photos of your clients:
Posting your client’s before and after photos online will create connections. Because they’re relatable, it’s easier for others to become convinced that you can deliver fantastic service as a business.
When prospective clients come across the before and after photos, they’ll feel that if it works for others, it’ll work for them too. As such, they’ll become interested in your gym and the services you offer. In fact, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways of promoting your gym.
This is your product. Let the photos speak for themselves.
As mentioned earlier, your clients’ before and after photos are relatable. That said, it can indirectly motivate others. Just by looking at the images, they’ll deduce that a successful fitness journey takes time, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Since humans are visual creatures, we tend to remember things we’ve seen. Posting before and after photos is like telling a story. You’ll be able to tell others about your clients’ journey through imagery alone.
Most people will look for reviews online to convince them that a specific service is worth the money. So, your clients’ testimonials about their successful journey will become much more striking when they post a review with their before and after photos.
It’ll be able to attract lots of prospective clients because the images will significantly impact them.
If you want to expand your reach on social networking sites like Instagram, you can use your clients’ before and after photos. When you post them, you can tag the person in the image so they can reshare them.
As your clients reshare the images you post, it also becomes a way of promoting your service.
Considering that other people will see the photos, they might become interested in your business. As a result, you’ll be able to expand your reach—you’ll be able to tap those who aren’t familiar with your gym.
Overall, posting before and after photos of your clients increases your credibility. It’s because people can see that you can successfully help others in their fitness journey. As such, you’ll be able to grow your business.
So, how do you take before and after photos of your clients in the gym?
Well, you just have to find a place with good lighting, then you can start capturing your clients’ bodies immediately. Ensure that there are no harsh shadows so you’ll be able to see their features.
Don’t be afraid to take bad photos. In fact, this is how you learn. If it is bad, figure out why it is bad and then fix it next time. Get the opinions of others to check your work. You’ll know when you’ve got it right.